"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
May 27, 2014
Going Vintage: Simpler Times?
by Erin Cowles

I met my husband in 2003, before the birth of iPhones and Facebook. He didn't even have a cell phone. Social media has changed the world of dating so much, I feel like my single friends are navigating completely different terrain than I did.

I really don't know if it is a warning sign when the guy you like's sister unfriends you, or if texting you a photo of his breakfast means he's into you. I've never been dumped by having my boyfriend's status change to “it's complicated.”

Dating feels more complicated to me. But is it really? Lindsey Leavitt takes this question on in her charming YA contemporary Going Vintage.

Finding out your significant other is unfaithful is never easy, but Mallory's life reaches a new low when she discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her with a cyberwife in a virtual world (and a cyberwife named “BubbleYum” at that).

Deciding that there is entirely too much social-media-related drama in her life, Mallory swears off technology and decides to channel the year 1962 by trying to complete her grandmother's list of goals for her junior year, which includes wholesome old-fashioned fare such as running for pep club secretary and hosting a fancy dinner party.

Assisting her on this journey are her loyal and spirited sister, her spunky but secretive grandmother, and Oliver, her ex's cute cousin and pep club president.

Along the way, Mallory discovers a lot of things. She learns that being a teenager has always been complicated, even in 1962. She learns how much of her identity she had poured into her boyfriend, and how to transform herself into a complete and self-sufficient individual. And she learns about how her relationships are strengthened and weakened through the technology she uses to forge them.

My favorite part of this story is Mallory's voice. She is witty, amusing, and sarcastic without being cruel. It was fun to watch her learn and grow, and I loved her commentary on her experiences.

Leavitt also creates a strong cast of side characters and side plots. I especially enjoyed the dynamic with her family.

I like that despite their quirks and mistakes, they love Mallory and do their best to help her (even if those attempts are humorously bad, like a bonding-turned-screaming-match on the “It's a Small World” ride at Disneyland). I like that Leavitt created a family that was imperfect, yet supportive and essential.

Going Vintage was a 2013 Whitney finalist in the Young Adult — General category. It is a stand-alone story, but if you can't get enough of Leavitt's witty dialogue, check out her 2011 release, Sean Griswold's Head.

Read this book if...

  • You've ever longed for simpler times, wondered who you would be without social media, or “accidentally” forgotten to charge your phone for 24 hours because you just need to disconnect for a while.

  • You're looking for a good beach read — this is light and tasty.

  • You like to watch initially weak and dependent characters learn about their own strength and build their own identities.

Target audience: Girls, ages 12 and up.

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About Erin Cowles

Erin Cowles is a mother of two, living in the Washington D.C. suburbs. Before motherhood, she used her masters in library and information science in a law firm library. Now she uses it to find good books for her family at her local public library. She teaches part time for a SAT prep company, where she enjoys the challenge of making rather dull subject matter interesting and making college a reality for her students. During women's history month, she profiles Mormon women that inspire her at ldswomenshistory.blogspot.com.

Erin currently serves as a counselor in her ward's primary presidency.

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